Challenging the Pacific: The First Woman to Row the Kon-Tiki Route

Overview

Just two years after rowing solo across the North Atlantic at the age of twenty-five, Maud Fontenoy was ready for a new challenge?crossing the Pacific Ocean. Leaving from Lima, Peru, and traveling 4,400 miles in seventy-three days, Fontenoy landed in Hiva Oa in French Polynesia, becoming the first woman to complete what is known as the ?Kon-Tiki? route. Alone at sea for days and nights on end, Fontenoy?s story relates the ups and downs of her time at sea, from circling sharks to...

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Challenging the Pacific: The First Woman to Row the Kon-Tiki Route

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Overview

Just two years after rowing solo across the North Atlantic at the age of twenty-five, Maud Fontenoy was ready for a new challenge—crossing the Pacific Ocean. Leaving from Lima, Peru, and traveling 4,400 miles in seventy-three days, Fontenoy landed in Hiva Oa in French Polynesia, becoming the first woman to complete what is known as the “Kon-Tiki” route. Alone at sea for days and nights on end, Fontenoy’s story relates the ups and downs of her time at sea, from circling sharks to the celebrity welcome upon her journey’s end. 

Named one of Time Magazine International’s thirty most important people of 2005, Fontenoy presents the reader with a terrific, entertaining adventure story on the high seas as she faces the Pacific Ocean. Fontenoy overcame the odds as well as her personal doubts and fears, demonstrating not only her indomitable courage and strength, but proving once again that women can conquer the most difficult and treacherous obstacles.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In 2003, 25-year-old Fontenoy was the first woman to row solo across the North Atlantic, a daunting journey described in Across the Savage Sea. No sooner was she home in France than she was planning her next sea challenge. In January 2005, in homage to Heyerdahl's Kon-Tiki expedition some 58 years earlier, Fontenoy set off solo from Lima, Peru, across the Pacific to Hiva Oa in French Polynesia. She rowed some 4,400 miles in 73 days. She describes the experience of being alone at sea for days and nights on end-although she did have a satellite phone and communicated regularly. While she passed some fearful hours fretting about getting run over by container ships in the shipping lanes, about sharks attacking her while she unfouled her rudder, about pirates stealing her desalinator-no dire tragedies actually occurred. Exhausted and somewhat lame when she arrived in Tahiti, she revived quickly and enjoyed a celebrity welcome. While she shares very few of the practical details of her voyage-how she navigated, the design of her boat, how she prepared her food-Fontenoy writes lyrically of the beauty and power of the sea and of her struggle to reach her goal. (Nov.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Twenty-something rower Fontenoy chronicles her solo trip across the Pacific. In 2003, the author became the first woman to row across the Atlantic alone, an adventure she described in Across the Savage Sea (not reviewed). Two years later, itching for a new challenge, she set out to conquer the Pacific, rowing from Peru to Polynesia. Here, she records the hardships and privations of that trip-they range from mundane (she forgot to bring a toothbrush) to grave (storms and sharks are constant threats). The most interesting sections detail the advance-work that made the trip possible; she spent a full year outfitting her boat, finding sponsors and visiting local schoolchildren to generate interest in her endeavor. But the challenges of fundraising pale in comparison to the trials and taunts of the mighty Pacific. Barnacles jam the boat's rudder, and a horribly hot sun forces her to hide in a tiny, airless cabin every afternoon. Early on, she breaks a rib, and she's beset with migraines and tendonitis for most of the trip. Fontenoy includes some wonderfully humanizing details about herself-amid her packets of dry food and her maps, she brought along a few feminine luxuries, like razors and lotion, because occasional cosmetic indulgences help her stay upbeat. She's courageous on the open seas, but her writing is timid, and her ideas at times trite. Throughout, she weaves reflections on the meaning of happiness: Happiness is about doing the thing you have envisioned yourself doing-and so, at sea, she is happy. Happy, perhaps, but not deep. Occasionally, Fontenoy offers a lovely image-during a menacing storm, "the sea ground its teeth"-but on the whole, she offers neither the stylish prose northe wise insights of seasoned nature and adventure writers. Fontenoy's gift is for rowing, not writing.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781611455045
  • Publisher: Arcade Publishing
  • Publication date: 5/1/2012
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 1,475,485
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 814.00 (h) x 5.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Maud Fontenoy was born to the sea, having lived on her parents’ fifty-five-foot schooner for the first fifteen years of her life. When she accomplished her miraculous crossing, she was twenty-five years old. On March 26, 2005, she became the first woman to row solo across the South Pacific. She lives in France.
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Table of Contents

1 Emergency Dive 1

2 A New Challenge 13

3 First Encounters 35

4 Life at Sea 49

5 A Good Catch 63

6 Halfway 79

7 Further Encounters 93

8 No Certainty Under Heaven 107

9 Journey's End 123

Epilogue 143

Afterword Michel Polacco 141

Acknowledgments 151

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